A couple years back Rachel and I were at a party at the home of a mutual work friend. The strange part was we didn’t really know anyone even though it was someone we knew from work. We ended up in a corner listening to internet radio through the television. I’m not sure how or why it happened but a couple came over and decided to sit and listen with us. We talked about music and beer. That’s how a lot of my conversations go these days…I’m not sure why. The couple was Christina and Mike Ross. Christina was a cousin of our friend Patrick’s wife. So they didn’t know anyone at this party either. We became fast friends. This was 3 or 4 years ago now.
Mike is a fairly established artist in Detroit. He has a pretty massive art studio in an old abandoned factory that is pretty breathtaking. He does some pretty amazing paintings. But besides that Mike has a business constructing and designing handmade skateboard decks. These decks are 100% built from scratch. He presses the layers of wood together, wood burns the design on the top and bottom of the deck, and hand paints each and every design. I personally own 3 of his decks. 2 long boards and a shorty. The designs are amazing. The first one he did for me was the board shown in the middle. The concept was (which is hard to see in the pic) to show the great lakes from CLE to DET. It turns out this image looks like a monster so he played that angle up. The second board he did was another CLE/DET connection. It is the intertwined skulls of the state birds of Ohio (cardinal) and Michigan (robin). And finally, he designed the board on the left for my wife. This one is a bit of a long story. Mike and Christina own a yellow parrot named Bonita. We were in town visiting for a weekend and I was sitting in Mike’s favorite chair having my cup of coffee in the morning. Bonita was out and about in the house as he typically was when they were home. But, when Bonita
noticed that it was not in fact Mike sitting in the chair he swooped into action. He flew right at me, landed on my head, and pierced the cartilage of my left ear. Asshole. Everyone got a good laugh. He has since been renamed “The Flying Death Banana”. Hence the design below.
So back to the trout deck. Obviously all of us here at DoubleHauled are obsessed with fly fishing and trout. Erik took this obsession one step further and commissioned Mike to design him this gnarly short board with a beautiful rainbow on the bottom. Not much more to be said about it other than that. Such amazing work. As a matter of fact all of his work is pretty amazing and you should check it out
http://algaeskateboards.tumblr.com/. You will not be disappointed.